Filed under Exercises

Missing A’s

Last week went really well, and though there wasn’t much critique *glares at you all* I hope you all had fun writing garbage. The stuff you submitted was pretty bad, so I congratulate you. This week, we’re going to go back to a successful, well-loved exercise that expands on a shitty writing technique that I … Continue reading


Strewn across a white floor like toys to a toddler were detached faces that, even in their sluggish peeling from muscle and vein appeared to still scream in their final memories of identity. Eyeless, lipless pink cheeked or pale skinned masks wrinkled, slightly elongated and folded. He picked them up like portraits of happy families … Continue reading

So High School

It has been forty five minutes of staring at her. The girl that made Theresa’s life Hell in high school. She would laugh and poke fun of Theresa daily. Everyday when the clock struck twelve she would dump her old coffee on Theresa. The popular kids called it “the daily grinds.”Tonight, the girl looked green, … Continue reading

Shitty First Drafts

Everyone has them, but few understand that they are the fortes of the successful writer who actually writes. After this quintessential first step, it can only get better, and at least you’ve written something. Beginner writers often make the same mistakes. We use the same word over and over, we’re cheesy, and we provide pages of … Continue reading

Worth a Thousand Words: Jennifer Stogner

As she crossed the quiet threshold, the warm orange glow of the lantern wavered and bounced, scared to tread past the gate of pine. The light jerked beneath the branches and threw the shadows across her tattered white gown like starving fingers swallowing her into the hooded woods. She must have been gone for at … Continue reading

Worth a Thousand Words

When you set a scene, you’re painting a picture for your readers. Sometimes it’s easy–if an airplane’s taking off your characters are probably on an airfield or in the plane, and they act appropriately. Sometimes you have many more options. For this exercise, choose the scene first, and then find some characters and let them … Continue reading

Research It

Zora Neale Hurston travelled to the South to collect folk tales and folk songs for Their Eyes Were Watching God. Painters study the human form, musicians study dialect and colloquialisms, and writers study whatever they’re hoping to describe so that they can bring as much intimacy to the description as possible. Pick a skill or … Continue reading

Make it Personal: Virginia Lynn Hutton

Her father’s new Rule is that she is not allowed to drive her car. So she has to ride the bus instead. The bus will be here in a few minutes. Samantha hurries down the stairs, almost falling down, and grabs the backpack that is slumped on the kitchen table. In the living room, her … Continue reading

Make it Personal: Casey Robinson

I watched a movie when I was twelve where a teenage girl made herself throw up.  It worked for her, so I practiced one night. “It’s not so bad,” I told myself, “as long as you try not to breathe in until it’s all over”. My assumption was that breathing in causes the taste buds … Continue reading